If I Stay (New Line Cinema/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, dist. by Warner Bros.) is an engaging and tear-jerking movie about life, romance and choices, based on Gayle Forman’s best-selling novel. It is also about the delicate balance between life and death and “how life is one thing and then in an instant, it becomes something else.”
If I Stay, rated PG-13, stars Chloë Grace Moretz (Carrie) as high school student and cellist, Mia Hall. She must first face the decision of choosing between attending Julliard or being with the love of her life, Adam (Jamie Blackley); then, Mia finds herself confronted with an even bigger choice — one involving life and death. Her ultimate fate lies in the balance.
Mia Hall falls in love for the first time in her young life when she meets Adam, who seems to her to be the one she has been destined to fall in love and spend her life with. Besides being her boyfriend, Adam also helps her with the most significant choice she will ever make.
As Chloë Grace Moretz puts it, If I Stay is about falling in love for the first time,and “how love brings out all sorts of different strengths and weaknesses, particularly when a catastrophe is involved.”
When Moretz’ character of Mia Hall falls in love with Adam, “it’s all new,” for her. Watching the movie, viewers can see the intensity of what a first-time love can be like. According to Moretz’ poetic but apt description of first-time love, “you can hear your heart beat from across the world for that person.”
Jamie Blakely said that Mia and his character, Adam, “find each other because they share the same passion for music, and their relationship is nuanced and complicated and really appealed to me. But then in the blink of an eye everything changes without warning. Contemplating whether you’re ever going to see someone again and be able to say everything you thought you’d always have time to say to them is quite intense.”
Close to the beginning of If I Stay, Mia embarks upon a carefree car ride. However, the weather is snowy and after a horrific accident, Hall has to come to terms with what is most important to her. Suspended between this world and the next, Mia must decide if she should stay…or if she should go.
According to director R.J. Cutler (The September Issue, TV’s Nashville), the central premise of If I Stay is “we are whom we love.” That goes not only for who we love in romantic relationships, but also our familial ones.
Mireille Enos plays Hall’s mother, Kat, and Joshua Leonard plays her father. Stacey Keach (Nebraska) is also great in If I Stay as Hall’s grandfather, who she calls “Gramps.” Mia’s little brother is played by Jakob Davies and her best friend is played by Liana Liberato.
Screenwriter Shauna Cross has stated that she worked very closely with the author, Gayle Forman, to bring the much-beloved book she wrote to the movie screen in as faithful an adaption as possible. That is good news to the millions of fans of the novel If I Stay.
As Cross stated, “The novel has so many layers—it’s funny and cool and heavy and uplifting. I wanted to preserve what the fans fell in love with in the first place. You have to modify things a little, but the film is still Gayle’s world and has Gayle’s Mia; it’s her Adam, parents and friends.”
Though If I Stay has not, so far, proven to be a major blockbuster at the box office, it is an engaging, tear-jerking and thought-provoking movie about love, choices, hope and tragedy. Fans of movies that are great love stories with lots of tear-jerking and touching moments, and/or fans of Gayle Forman’s amazing book, will definitely want to check out If I Stay. Two thumbs way up!
Written By Douglas Cobb
If I Stay Official Trailer #1